Post-NewTown anti-gun junk science starts: ‘Nearly 20 percent of suicidal youths have guns in their home’

This kind of junk is why there is opposition to the CDC conducting gun research.

A small study — 524 patients from 3 medical centers. Children screened for “suicide ideation” sought medical treatment for medical/surgical reasons OR psychiatric complaints. No info available on the breakdown between medical/surgical and psychiatric visits — no reason to screen medical/surgical visits for suicide ideation. Finally, precisely what are the suicide ideation criteria that would make one a suicide risk? No info available on that.

The study abstract is below.


Access to Firearms among Patients Screening Positive for Suicide Risk in
Pediatric Emergency Departments

Jeffrey A. Bridge, Stephen J. Teach, Ian H. Stanley, Elizabeth A. Wharff, Maryland Pao, Lisa M. Horowitz.

Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice, Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH; The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, OH; Division of Emergency Medicine, Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC; Office of the Clinical Director, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD; Emergency Psychiatry Service, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA; Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

BACKGROUND: Access to firearms by youth deemed at risk for suicide in pediatric emergency departments (EDs) has not yet been described.

OBJECTIVE: To determine self-reported access to firearms in the home among youth who screen positive for suicide risk when presenting to pediatric EDs for medical/surgical or psychiatric concerns.

DESIGN/METHODS: As part of a multicenter, prospective study designed to create a brief instrument to screen for suicide risk among children and adolescents presenting to EDs with either medical/surgical or psychiatric chief complaints, structured interviews were conducted with patients aged 10-21 years that included a question about firearms in the home (“Are any
guns kept in or around your home?”). Follow-up questions assessed knowledge of gun storage (“Do you know how to access these guns?”) and access to bullets (“Are the bullets kept in or around your home locked and separate from your guns?”). A positive screen on either the Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire (SIQ) or the Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ) instrument indicated positive for suicide risk. Descriptive analyses were run to describe rates of access to firearms in the home.

RESULTS: A total of 524 patients across three sites were screened for suicide risk [56.9% female; 50.4% white; mean age 15.2±2.6]. Among the 151 youth determined at risk for suicide, 17.2% (26/151) reported guns in or around their home [61.5% female; 76.9% white; mean age 14.1±2.1y]. Of these youth, 30.8% (8/26) knew how to access the guns [37.5% female; 100%
white; mean age 15.6±2.5y], 30.8% (8/26) reported access to bullets [62.5% female; 75% white; mean age 13.3±1.7y], and 15.4% (4/26) reported access to both guns and bullets [50.0% female; 100% white; mean age 14.3±1.3y].
CONCLUSIONS: A considerable number of youth at risk for suicide in pediatric EDs reported having access to firearms in their home.

Disclosure: The views expressed in this abstract do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the U.S. government.

11 thoughts on “Post-NewTown anti-gun junk science starts: ‘Nearly 20 percent of suicidal youths have guns in their home’”

  1. As a long time paramedic, at least in my experience, most pediatric suicides are NOT accomplished with guns, they are done by hanging or drug ingestion.

  2. 1. Many homes have guns so yes, you’d expect the number of kids who met the suicidal ideation criteria and had guns in the home to roughly equal the kids who did not match the criteria and had guns in the home.
    2. If a parent (or other family member) has reason to be concerned about a child’s risk factor, the parent should secure any firearms at the very least. There are other ways of committing suicide or homicide but firearms are usually the most effective.
    3. Background checks would achieve what, exactly, in this scenario? Minors are prohibited from buying guns in the first place.

  3. Alternate spin: raising children in a gun-free zone contributes to the risk that they will consider suicide.

  4. Of course, if the authors of this paper had a bias against video games, rap music, football, or you name it, they would have found similar meaningless correlations. Complete junk.

  5. This is most interesting, but only in light of Jake’s comment, Statistically almost 50% of these children should have said yes. The interesting part is how many of them are lying.

    Most notably, 100% of respondents saying that they had access to guns were white. That’s complete nonsense. There is apparently a strong stigma against admitting to owning guns in the black and hispanic communities. I’ve seen that. White guys will chat casually about their various firearms, but minorities will actually get offended if asked about guns, responding “What do you think I am, a thug?” In approval-desparate pre-teens, that would definitely be a concern.

    Of course, since that breakdown is of 26 children, no real conclusions can be drawn.

  6. The classical ‘screening question’ is, “Have you ever considered harming yourself or others?”

    20 percent of the kids said ‘yes’, and the rest are lying. Never considered punching some idiot in the face? There’s far too many idiots to generate this pattern of response.

  7. Then maybe we should spin the study as: owning guns at home makes 80% of kids less likely to kill themselves!

  8. Nearly 100% of them have a bottle of milk in the fridge … what does that prove, milk makes them suicidal ? LOL

  9. The figure of only about 20% of suicidal youths living in homes with guns sounds EXTREMELY low. Nearly half of the adults in the USA own one or more guns. One would expect about half of all suicidal youths to live in homes that have guns. What’s the point?

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